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Bono and Damien Hirst from the (Red) Auction promotion at Sotheby’s
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Feb. 12, 2008

Nothing like an incipient recession to help hype a big-name charity art auction. Sotheby’s forthcoming "(Red) Auction," a benefit sale of contemporary art scheduled for New York on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2008, has gotten a lot of attention from the financial press -- as if it were an opportunity for an art-market collapse. In fact, the sale has plenty going for it: The good cause encourages bidders to step up; Sotheby’s is foregoing its commission, knocking a sizable chunk off the final purchase price; and the event adds a very high-profile contemporary sale to an empty spot on the New York auction calendar.